job market

February 5, 2016, by Beth Dawson

Seven Ways to Succeed in a Competitive Job Market

The graduate job market is competitive and you will need to be prepared to impress potential employers. Here are our tips on how you can ensure you are in the best possible situation to achieve your career ambitions.

1. Be positive

When you begin your job search, don’t believe all the ‘doom and gloom’ headlines in the media. Generic headlines can make you feel that your search is hopeless – it isn’t! For starters, we have thousands of jobs of listed on My Career, from recruiters who are interested in Nottingham graduates.

2. Be proactive

To make the most of the growing graduate market, start thinking about your career plans before your final year. Get advice and explore all the options open to you.

An increasing number of employers are offering taster days and work experience placements for first years, especially in the financial and legal sectors – don’t miss out on these opportunities. If you’re deciding what you’d like to do after university, see our previous blogs and webpages for advice about choosing your career.

3. Do your research

Take your careers research seriously. Find out about the positions, industries and companies that interest you and when you apply for vacancies, you’ll be able to draw upon this knowledge. Employers can easily see through a weak or ill-considered application and are looking for applicants who show genuine enthusiasm for their organisation and a good level of commercial awareness.

‘Why do you want to work for this company?’ – Make sure you’re ready to answer this question.

4. Sell yourself

You might know why you want to work for a company, but why should they choose you? Learn how to market yourself effectively and get across what you can offer to the employer. Attending practice interviews can help you to come across well at the real thing. Also, don’t ignore the experience you have. Having a part-time job or being a member of a society can provide you with transferable skills, be sure to draw upon this valuable experience and relate it to the role you are applying for.

With over 92% of companies using social media in recruitment processes, websites such as Twitter and LinkedIn can provide further opportunities to promote yourself *. To get the best out of your LinkedIn profile attend one of our LinkedIn profile review sessions.

5. Don’t limit yourself

The large graduate recruiters you see in lists such as ‘The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers’ are just the tip of the iceberg. Many graduates find work in smaller, local or not-for-profit businesses. Keep a look out for news about our Spotlight On…Big Careers in Small Companies and Spotlight On….Working in the Public Sector events coming up this term.

Don’t forget about the transferable skills you will have gained through your degree or extracurricular activities. You’ll be able to utilise your skills and interests in a range of jobs, so broaden out your career ideas so that you can maximise your job opportunities. Look at the different routes into those sectors – there’s not usually just one way in.

6. Develop you skills and gain some experience

Gaining work experience is becoming increasingly important. Many of the largest graduate employers report that they are filling up to 30% of their vacancies with graduates who have worked for them before *. Similarly, over half of the employers interviewed in a recent High Fliers Survey repeated warnings that graduates with no work experience are unlikely to be successful during selection processes.

7. Build your networks

Whether it’s through your studies, tutors, work experience or extracurricular activities, build up your network of contacts. These people can give you advice on the career or sector that interests you and may even be able to help you get a job.

We have lots of opportunities to meet people who can provide you with insights into different career paths throughout our spring term events programme. Look out for our career fairs and Spotlight On…series.

What else can you do?

If you want further advice on how to tackle the competitive job market, book an appointment with a member of our team via My CareerAlso connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to find out about our latest events.


*”The Graduate Market in 2014‘, High Fliers Survey

*JobVite research from Online Colleges Infographic 



Posted in Applying For JobsCareers AdviceWork experience